The first banned reviews of the new MacBook Air with the M2 chip have now been published. One notable detail confirmed by the edge is that the base $1,199 model with 256GB of storage has a single NAND chip, which will result in slower SSD speeds in benchmark testing, but real-world performance may vary.

MacBook Air M2 Chip Purple
Last month, it was discovered that the 256GB model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 chip has up to 50% slower read speeds and up to 30% slower SSD write speeds than the equivalent previous generation model in benchmarks.

The dilemma arises from the fact that Apple has switched to using a single 256GB flash storage stick instead of two 128GB chips in the base models of the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. Configurations equipped with 512GB or more of storage are equipped with multiple NAND chips, allowing for higher speeds in parallel.

In a statement issued to the edgeHowever, Apple said that while benchmarks for the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage “may show a difference” compared to previous-generation models, real-world performance is “faster”:

Thanks to the increased performance of the M2, the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro are incredibly fast, even compared to Mac laptops equipped with the powerful M1 chip. These new systems use a new high-density NAND that provides 256GB of storage using a single chip. While the 256GB SSD standards may show a difference compared to the previous generation, these M2-based systems perform faster for real-world activities.

It’s not clear if Apple’s statement explicitly refers to real-world SSD performance or general system performance. Some tests of the base model MacBook Pro 13-inch with the M2 chip showed that SSD speeds were even slower in real use, but the results were mixed. In general, if faster SSD speeds are important to you, we recommend configuring your new MacBook Air with at least 512GB of storage to avoid any potential impact.

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